My pregnant wife's been reading a book on health during pregnancy. The book warns against sleeping on your front or back from the fourth month onwards to avoid pressure on the foetus or extra weight on the spine etc. This I understand.

What I don't understand is why it recommends sleeping on the left side rather than the right. What is the medical reason for this?

asked 02 Nov '09, 14:43

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller
accept rate: 19%

As often happens I found an explanation right after asking the question.

On Kids Health they provide this explanation:

Some doctors specifically recommend that pregnant women sleep on the left side. Because your liver is on the right side of your abdomen, lying on your left side helps keep the uterus off that large organ. Sleeping on the left side also improves circulation to the heart and allows for the best blood flow to the fetus, uterus, and kidneys. Ask what your doctor recommends — in most cases, lying on either side should do the trick and help take some pressure off your back.


answered 02 Nov '09, 14:45

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller
accept rate: 19%

They tell you the left side because supposedly it is better for blood flow. The inferior vena cava runs from your heart down your right leg and returns the non oxygenated blood to the heart. Here is an interesting article that shows you that its not mandatory to sleep on your left though so don't worry if its not comfortable or if you just can't seem to stay there.


answered 02 Nov '09, 23:34

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

I also would recommend a pregnancy pillow it helps relieve pressure on the pelvis.


answered 02 Nov '09, 18:09

Phil%20Seller's gravatar image

Phil Seller
accept rate: 9%

edited 03 Nov '09, 11:13

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦

I actually had a very hard time laying on my side during pregnancy. My pelvis was so messed up from sleeping on either side. It was becoming very difficult for me to walk. I could not even lift up my left leg. My doctor said it was the sciatic and that there was nothing to do about it. But, it was not that, it felt like my pelvis and hip were out of place.
My regular doctor referred me to a orthopedic doctor, and he had me going to physical therapy....that did the trick...I had many exercises to do and that helped, could walk normally again and lift up my leg within 3 weeks of the therapy....I could not sleep on either side the rest of the pregnancy. I had to sleep sitting up in the recliner chair the rest of the pregnancy.

It was really difficult to lay on my sides during the labor part as well, but I had to do that with the epidural. It was so uncomfortable for me.....I still can not lay on either side, it feels so uncomfortable to me now!!


answered 03 Nov '09, 06:44

Betsy's gravatar image

accept rate: 2%

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Asked: 02 Nov '09, 14:43

Seen: 25,719 times

Last updated: 03 Nov '09, 11:13